Low-Income HIV Patients
in New Jersey

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Income is one of the most impactful social determinants of health, potentially influencing an individual’s ability to acquire insurance and access care. Low-income HIV patients and their characteristics can be studied using data from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. This federal program provides medical care and support services for the uninsured and underserved HIV population.

The data from this program demonstrates the level of income vulnerability among the HIV population in New Jersey. In 2018 the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program served 15,204 clients in New Jersey. This represents 40 percent of the total number of people living with HIV in New Jersey. Eighty-five percent of these clients have an income 250 percent or less than the federal poverty level. These low-income patients display the following demographic characteristics:

  • Older age – 66 percent of the clients are aged 45 and over.
  • A higher proportion of females – 36.5 percent of low-income clients are female. Statewide, females make up approximately 32 percent of all HIV patients.
  • Heterosexual transmission dominates – over half of the low-income HIV clients acquired the disease through heterosexual contact. This compares to the statewide proportion of 33 percent for this mode of transmission.

Examining the low-income HIV population helps identify different subgroups which may require additional resources. Females and the heterosexual population are not commonly an area of focus among those with HIV. However, the Ryan White data indicates these groups may be some of the most vulnerable populations in need of greater attention.

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